- WallStreetBets founder Jaime Rogozinski talks to Insider about his blockchain-based trading platform WSB DApp.
- “This is very much a way for me to say crypto and Wall Street are definitely going to merge,” says Rogozinski.
- He suggested the platform create a “Nancy ETP” to capture the attention on stock trading by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.
Jaime Rogozinski, the founder of WallStreetBets, believes there’s potential for a new investment product tracking the stock bets made by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, whose trading has sparked outrage and fascination in equal measures among amateur traders.
In an interview, he suggested a Pelosi-themed exchange-traded portfolio could emerge on the latest iteration of his campaign to empower retail investors – a platform called WallStreetBets DApp.
“I got this idea, somewhat of a joke, but I can’t shake it so I’m probably going to start pushing for it, which is this ‘Nancy ETP,'” Rogozinski told Insider.
But his vision for WallStreetBets DApp, a blockchain-based shop for stocks and other assets, extends far beyond one potentially trendy ETP.
A strategic partner in the project, Rogozinski wants ordinary investors to build their wealth with the same kind of community-powered energy that the WallStreetBets forum on Reddit used to upend the trading world this year.
WallStreetBets was thrust into the spotlight in January after retail investors active on the site banded together to drive a massive upsurge in video-game retailer GameStop’s stock price, squeezing hedge funds shorting the so-called meme stock. The WSB DApp is an expression of what Rogozinski sees as the next big thing in the financial world.
“This is very much a way for me to say crypto and Wall Street are definitely going to merge and they’re starting to spill into each other already,” he told Insider during a video interview from Mexico City, where he lives with his family.
“For far too long, I made the mistake of assuming blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies were one in the same thing – and they’re not,” Rogozinski said. “This whole DeFi (decentralized finance) infrastructure that’s able to create a parallel ecosystem in finances is astoundingly powerful, more than I could have imagined.”
Rogozinski’s idea for an automated “Nancy ETP” would highlight a key feature on WSB DApp. The platform allows community members to propose the creation and makeup of ETPs, which can hold a mix of assets such as domestic and international equities, cryptocurrencies, and metals.
The WSB DApp platform has a native token, the $WSB governance token, that people can buy and then use to vote on the type of assets and weightings that should go into an ETP. In an example given in May, token holders who think Tesla should make up 90% of a particular ETP instead of 10% can vote on it by signing a transaction using their $WSB tokens during voting cycles.
At the same time, a Pelosi-centered ETP would apply the “if you can’t beat them, join them” notion to investing while also drawing attention to outrage and debate over stock trading by members of Congress and their families, Rogozinski said.
In the case of Paul Pelosi, one trade in particular stood out. It involved shares of Google parent Alphabet that made $US5.3 ($AU7) million for him prior to a House Judiciary Committee vote on tech antitrust regulation. Spokespeople for Speaker Pelosi told media outlets she owns no stock herself and had no knowledge of her husband’s equity purchases.
Meanwhile, as the uproar continues, “people are able to make money,” with a product like the “Nancy ETP”, said Rogozinski. “Nothing’s sure but past performance is definitely impressive,” he said broadly of Paul Pelosi’s stock picks.
The strong performance of his stock picks over the last two years has prompted many retail investors to mirror Paul Pelosi’s investments. Meanwhile, memes about Nancy Pelosi have popped up, suggesting she’s a skilled investor that can make money off of insider information.
Life after moderating WallStreetBets
The Pelosi controversy has the right mix of ingredients to thrive in discussions on the WallStreetBets forum, which Rogozinski created in 2012 in a quest to find a place for ideas about aggressive, money-making trades. But in April of 2020, he was removed as a moderator on WallStreetBets after being accused by other moderators of trying to profit from the subreddit.
He sold the rights to his life story to RatPac Entertainment in exchange for a payment in the low six figures, according to a Wall Street Journal report in May.
More about the dispute will be revealed through projects the entertainment company plans to produce, which could include movies, podcasts, TV shows, and other vehicles, he said. “The documentary is well underway and will be out next year,” Rogozinski said.
And while he’s no longer a WallStreetBets moderator, his WSB DApp platform looks to continue its mission of democratizing markets. Using the $WSB token, retail investors will rebalance ETPs, not by “opaque and politically connected” banks and hedge funds, WallStreetBets said in May.